Daytona Beach Florida and Speed Week

With eighteen miles of silver white sands and azure waters lapping gently at the shore, Daytona Beach Florida is a dream destination for anyone in search of summer fun - and just an hour from Orlando and its theme parks. The 550-foot-wide stretch of sand is ideal for lazing the day away, playing volleyball or jogging or trying your hand at parasailing and surfing.

The sands at Daytona Beach are far more famous for other reasons however, and were used as a raceway throughout the last century. It was here in 1935 that Malcolm Campbell reached a top speed of 276mph. You can still drive on the sands for a $5 fee, though with a maximum permitted speed of 10mph you certainly won't be breaking any records. You can also hire all terrain vehicles (ATVs) for about $35-$45 an hour for some more fun.

For an insight into the beach's history and its links to stock car racing visit Daytona USA, a shrine to motor sports. Although you can take a peek at America's most famous race track, the Daytona International Speedway, for free, real motor sports fans will want to pay the $21 for a close up view of famous stock cars, a virtual vehicle test on Acceleration Alley and a chance to pit their wits against a 16-second Pit Stop Challenge. For the full-on experience come during Speed Week or Bike Week.

Next door you'll find the Klasix Auto Museum with its incredible collection of classic cars including every corvette from '53 to '94 and a host of famous movie cars from the Batmobile to the Flintstones' car.

Downtown Daytona Beach is a living relic of 1950s pop culture and is a wild place during spring break when thousands of college kids descend upon the area to drink themselves stupid. At other times of the year special events draw in the crowds, ratchet up the party fever and double the price of hotels.

Daytona Beach: Speed Week and Bike Week

Speed Weeks, the highlight of the racing calendar, takes place in mid February followed by Bike Week in early March when thousands of Harley owners roar across Florida and into town for motorcycle racing and some serious leather-clad fun. The rest of March and April merge into a drinking fest with spring break followed by Black College Reunion in the second week of April.

Nascar fans sweep into town in early July for the Pepsi 400 meet, Biketoberfest rides home in mid October and custom cars trawl town during the Turkey Fest in late November. The final party of the year is World Karting Racing in the last week of December.

If you're looking for something a little more sedate, you could try the Little Chapel by the Sea, a drive-in Christian church where you can attach a speaker to your car or tune in your radio for the 8.30am and 10am services on Sundays. After some hardcore partying, a little preaching in the parking lot to atone for your sins might be just the thing.

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